So here’s an interesting tidbit: it turns out Bryan “Birdman” Williams, millionaire rapper and CEO of the record label that is home to Drake, Nicki Minaj, and Lil Wayne, has a secret childhood right here in Prince George, British Columbia, Canada.
The revelation came during an interview with Angie Martinez on New York station 105.1 FM.
Update: Birdman has responded to this story on Instagram- details at the bottom of the post.
Martinez asks about mentors growing up when Williams- who has also gone by the name Baby- starts talking about being raised by his neighbourhood and his secret past in Canada (it begins at 13:52 in the video above):
Birdman: Everybody liked me because I was one of the kids that ain’t had no momma, no daddy, just in the streets van wild
Angie Martinez: Since what age?
Birdman: My mom died when I was two, my pops died when I was five.
Martinez: And then so then who was in your- was your grandmother?
Birdman: Nah, I never had no
Martinez: So who was in your house
Birdman: Uh, I had a stepmother, but… I was living in a boy’s home until they was able to come get me, but um… you know, the streets raised me, the block, the neighbourhood. I have like ten brothers and twelve sisters, so, I can go to anyone of them… but, um, the streets raised me.
Martinez: Since that young?
Martinez: That’s- we NEED a biopic
Birdman: I felt like, it’s just time, I would like to show
Martinez: And we see that all in the biopic?
Martinez: Wow. So do you go back to like where you were, and
Birdman: I went back to as much as we could trace. You know, um, I lived in Canada for a few years, my sister took us–
Martinez: Who are you, what? Anybody know that?
Birdman: Nah, I never spoke on my past… I never really wanted to, cause it was–
Martinez: Why were you in Canada? Were you hiding out?
Birdman: My sister took us away, right? My momma passed, my uncle came down, and she decided to just take us, drive us to Canada. So we stayed in Canada for like two, three years?
Martinez: Wow. Where?
Birdman: Um, Prince George.
Williams says he stayed in Canada until age seven or eight, which means he would have been here from roughly 1973 or 74 until 1976 or 77. At that time Prince George was a fast-growing logging town, on its way to being the second-largest in British Columbia and, purportedly, the city with the most millionaires per capita in the country.
Williams would also go on to be a millionaire, but not before some hard times. He moved back to his hometown of New Orleans and lived on the street and in jail before founding Cash Money Records in 1991. The label went on to be one the most influential in hip-hop, signing acts like Lil Wayne, Drake, and Nicki Minaj. According to Forbes, in 2015 he was the fifth wealthiest man in hip-hop (just behind Diddy, Dr. Dre, Jay-Z and 50 Cent), with an estimated net worth of $150 million.
The Canadian angle in Williams life hasn’t previously been disclosed- he says not even label mate and noted Canadian Drake knows about it.
Williams has also said he is working on a biopic about his early life, though it is unknown if his time in Prince George will be included.
I have sent an email to his publicist for more details about this part of Williams’ life, but in the meantime…
UPDATE: There is now a CBC News story about this. Liam Britten takes full credit for incorporating the names of Birdman songs into it.
UPDATE 2: Birdman has responded to this story! He posted a link to the CBC story on Instagram and wrote:
“🔥Summer thank you CBC news British Columbia Canada I appreciate Tha love Tha life was a real experience livin in Prince George I will always honor and respect”
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